No place for cheating in the beautiful sport of chess

World Chess Champion GM Magnus Carlsen recently accused a young grandmaster (GM) Hans Niemann of cheating after losing to him in the 2022 Sinquefield Cup.

It is one of the most prestigious tournaments on the world chess calendar and it is played on the board, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA at the Saint Louis Chess Club.

In a later event shortly after, Carlsen quit after a move to Niemann in an online game. GM Carlsen took things a step further by stating that he will not be playing against GM Niemann in the future.

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FIDE, the chess governing body, chastised the world champion for stepping down after a blow and said: “We strongly believe there are better ways to handle this situation.” Additionally, a FIDE investigation has been launched regarding the cheating allegations against GM Niemann.

FIDE added: “It is our duty to protect the integrity of the game and its image, and given the escalation of the incident, we believe it is necessary to take a step forward.”

FIDE announced that it was “ready to task its Fair Play Commission with a full investigation into the incident, when adequate initial evidence is provided and all parties involved disclose the information available to them”.

Cheating allegations have existed in chess for some time, as in other sports. Currently, allegations of cheating affect several sports including fishing and poker. Until recently, the main form of cheating in chess was collusion. However, with the improvements in technology and especially in artificial intelligence, chess computers or chess engines are now widely used by players, between matches, to analyze games for the best moves in various positions. Cheating can now take place through the use of electronic devices, linked to chess engines.

The FIDE Fair Play Committee has updated the definition of cheating to include the deliberate use of electronic devices or other sources of information or advice during a match.

To minimize the risk of cheating in chess, several measures have been taken for online and over the board tournaments. With this new investigation, FIDE will surely come up with new guidelines to ensure the integrity of sport.

Since the founding of the Jamaica Chess Federation (JCF) in 1969, the organization has been a source of strength, founded on values ​​that have made the Jamaica Chess Federation one of the most trusted brands in the sport in Jamaica.

As the JCF operates in a world of complexities and global challenges, its values ​​are even more important today. The Jamaica Chess Federation believes in winning with determination and integrity in chess.

The new administration follows FIDE guidelines and uses these guidelines to organize chess tournaments. Additionally, there are chess arbiters and Fair Play individuals to monitor game performance. Players found guilty of cheating, after proper investigation, are suspended or may have their membership revoked in accordance with JCF regulations.

The Jamaica Chess Federation puts players first and believes in fair play. She is very proud that one of her juniors, Wolmerian Jaden Shaw, 15, Jamaica Absolute Junior Champion (U20) and FIDE Candidate Master (CM) won the Svetozar. Gligoric Fair Play Award at the recent 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India. His opponent Grandmaster Meelis Kanep fell ill during Jamaica’s game against Estonia and was unable to complete the match. Jaden, who made his Chess Olympiad debut, accepted a draw when he could have insisted on a historic victory. His act of generosity was hailed by all, including the President of FIDE and the Chief Minister of Chennai. Past winners of this award include none other than GM World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Former JCF President and member of the FIDE Constitutional Commission, Ian Wilkinson, KC, said: “Jaden’s display of sportsmanship is a true example of all that sportsmanship, not cheating, is the way to go.”

The juniors are one of the main reasons for Jamaica’s success over the past 53 years. To continue to build a strong JCF, it must continually invest not only in its players, but also in its administrators, which includes investing in their integrity. As FIDE said, “We hope that this whole situation could have a long-term positive effect, if handled properly.”

The next international event for Jamaica is the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Youth Chess Championship, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, from November 19-26, 2022.

Jamaica foresees the participation of juniors in the age groups: U8, U10, U12, U14, U16 and U18, and works diligently with potential partners and sponsors to obtain support. There is a strong correlation between performance in chess and standard school tests. Players continue to excel both at chess and academically. As an example, one of the top female juniors, female candidate master (WCM) Raehanna Brown of Campion College received nine ones with straight A profiles in recent CSEC (CXC) exams. Also, another junior player, Kyle Pratt of Campion College, a top regional math specialist, has recently started attending one of the best academic institutions in the world, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Jamaica Chess Federation will continue to lead and partner with FIDE, to do everything possible to eradicate all forms of cheating in chess, thereby ensuring the integrity of the sport and enabling players, especially juniors, to continue to excel locally and internationally.

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